Although it is a bit of a hike from the Twin Cities to The Yellow Tree Theatre in Osseo, it is worth it to see “Stay Tuned” a new musical. I’ve seen a handful of new work lately and this was the best yet. “Stay Tuned” is a five person show created by Andy Frye, Mary Fox and Blake Thomas who are also actors in the musical. The play consists of five characters who work at a radio station. When the show host Bob (who we never meet) dies, a replacement is sent in who is attempting to usher in new work with new technology. Throughout the play the cast reminisces about old broadcasts and tries to figure out the balance between their old way of doing things and this new transition.
Everyone worked very well together and I can only imagine it was due to the fact that they collaborated on the piece. Mary Fox (Emma) , whom I have seen in a few shows at this particular venue, was her usual quirky self. She does a wonderful job as the silly, yet loveable girl. I found myself swooning over Andy Frye who played Scotty. He was charming to watch and had a sweet voice. Ryan Nelson who played Gordon had many awkwardly funny lines, which got the audience chuckling. Jessica Lind Peterson played the new host, Ashabell. Her strength was her voice which had a nice soprano tone. Blake Thomas (Rusty) wore many hats in this production including the music and lyrics composer. Most of his songs were folk sounding and I enjoyed them all. There was one tune that was more along the lines of Lady Gaga and completely made sense in the show. I really appreciated how everything made blended.
The set was very compact, but lovely. There was a record player with records strewn across the stage. The walls of the radio station were plastered with posters of Patsy Cline, Dean Martin and others. There was a sound booth, mics, a desk, and many instruments scattered around. All of the actors sang and played instruments. There was a piano, guitar, dulcimer, banjo, shakers, and a slide whistle. The coolest sound of all was water filled glasses which sounded musical notes when pinged with a finger. Can you even imagine knowing how to play that many instruments? I can’t! The harmonies and jingles the group did were adorable. Old mic’s would drop down from the ceiling for many songs and it was a treat to watch. The actors even changed costumes to signify date changes. Sometimes it was a full attire change where other times it was a jacket or sweater to go over something. Little things matter and that was nice to see they paid attention to even the smallest of details.
“Stay Tuned” is playing now through May 5th. Be smart, support a local theater and see this lovely show! For more information check out the Yellow Tree Theatre’s website: http://www.yellowtreetheatre.com/